The PTO exists to celebrate everything about the sport of Triathlon we all love so much.
What is the PTO?
The PTO is the Professional Triathletes Organisation. It is a not-for-profit entity consisting of non-drafting professional triathletes who have come together to promote and contribute to the triathlon community and celebrate the sport we all love so much. It is modelled on the PGA/LGPA organisations in golf or the ATP/WTA organisations in tennis. A professional representative body is the natural evolution for sport, and the PTO’s time has now arrived for the sport of triathlon. With its investment partner, Crankstart Investments, the PTO is now able to contribute its resources and the collective voice of professional triathletes to helping our sport grow and thrive. It is an honour for the PTO to join our tremendous Triathlon Community and we are so excited to work with all the wonderful stakeholders in the sport.
How did the PTO get formed?
Good Question!!! As Jerry Garcia might say, “What a long strange trip it’s been!” First, it is important to note that the PTO and today’s professional triathletes owe an enormous debt to all the great athletes whose blood, sweat, and yes, tears have, over the last 40 years, paved the way for the PTO and The Collins Cup to become a reality. Impossible to name all of them here, but athletes like Erin Baker, Dave Scott, Paula Newby-Fraser and Mark Allen established standards of performance that are still incomprehensible and would forever drive all triathletes, amateur and professional alike, to challenge limits thought impossible. It all began with their inspirational careers that said, “Nothing is Impossible!”
OK, we got that bit, but what about the Athletes today and the PTO?
The PTO began to take form in late 2014 when a group of athletes met and thought to establish an organisation so that they might be able to contribute a voice to the triathlon community. At that time, the athletes were keen to see how best to grow the sport but given their geographical dispersed locations and limited time availability, it was difficult to get a lot of traction, so the organisation seemed to fizzle out a bit. It was kept alive by a small number of athletes who continued to volunteer their time and scratch their heads to try to figure out a way for the PTO to become an economic reality.
So, it took four years of Head Scratching to get the PTO off the ground?
Yes, pretty much. I guess we exemplified the famous motto of the US Marines, “The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little while longer.” It is safe to say that there were those who said it would never happen and that it was impossible to get a bunch of self-driven individual professional triathletes to be part of a single organisation and agree on anything. We were told that it has all been tried before and that we were wasting our time. Thankfully, we were blessed with a number of advisors from outside the sport who were just too naïve to believe this and, like Julie Moss, despite many setbacks and false starts along the way, would not give up and continued to look for a way to realise the athletes’ vision of self-determination and an organisation of their own. That vision is now a reality as a result of the PTO’s partnership with Crankstart Investments and Michael Moritz. You will have to wait for the book and the film release to learn about all the exact twists and turns that were taken before we arrived, but it is no accident that the PTO’s Motto is “Dum Spiro, Spero—Whilst I Breathe, I Hope.”
What is the mission of the PTO?
Our mission is simple: To Celebrate the Sport of Triathlon. We seek to showcase the passion, talents, determination, struggles and achievements of the dedicated professionals who seek to realise the highest levels of the sport and inspire all those who participate in triathlon and be a valued member in the Triathlon Community.
What will this look like in the Triathlon Community?
Our PTO Members are ambassadors in the Triathlon Community, actively promoting the sport and sharing their passions, insights, struggles, accomplishments, failures and all the crazy and beautiful moments that make our sport so singularly wonderful. We want to see our sport grow and we want to support and help all the race organisers, from the large international companies to the small local organisers, the governing bodies, the local tri clubs, the media, the sponsors, the volunteers--everybody really, who loves the sport as much as we do.
How many professionals are PTO Members?
While we were confidentially arranging our partnership with Crankstart, we were working behind the scenes signing up members and approximately 100 professional triathletes are now proud Members of the PTO, including ALL of the top 35 men and top 35 women in the PTO World Rankings. Now that we have been able to make this public announcement, we are inviting all licenced professionals to become PTO Members. There are no costs or membership fees involved.
What benefits do PTO Members receive?
As a PTO Member you are eligible for qualification to participate in the $2,000,000 Collins Cup as well as any other races the PTO operates. Watch this space as more exciting things will be coming soon!! Our goals are fairly modest: run great events with sizable prize money, invest in the growth of the sport, support the needs of the PTO Members as best we can, and perhaps even provide a health insurance and pension plan, that would be nice.
So, you have to be a member of the PTO to be in The Collins Cup or other PTO races?
Yes, as there are no membership dues or licensing fees, there are no hurdles to becoming a PTO Member. We are identical to similar professional sport organisations like the PGA Tour and ATP Tennis, where you are required to be a member in order to participate in their events.
What is the role of the professional athletes in the PTO?
The professional athletes are part of the governance of the PTO and have members on the PTO Board. These athletes are elected by the PTO Members. The professional athletes, along with the Crankstart Investment representatives, will lead the organisation. Again, this replicates the professional organisations of golf and tennis.
Where has the funding come from?
The PTO has partnered with Crankstart Investments, an investment vehicle for Michael Moritz. As a result of this partnership, the PTO is pleased to confirm that The Collins Cup will be held 29-30th May 2020 at the x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Slovakia with over $2,000,000 in prize money.
Can you explain how the partnership with Crankstart Investments works?
Our partnership with Crankstart Investments is one that is unique in professional sport in that the PTO and the Crankstart Investments share equally in all profits from the commercial operation of the PTO. Essentially, it would be like the players of Manchester United getting their salaries plus 50% of all of the team’s profits. Crankstart sees professional athletes as an asset to be invested in, not just an expense item. The spread of the internet, the rise in the number of media outlets thirsty for top-notch sporting content, combined with the latest production techniques now make it possible to bring to international audiences the extraordinary accomplishments of today’s highest performing athletes – our PTO Members. A major part of the attraction of the PTO as an investment is that, unlike every other sport, men and women compete for equal prize money and the athletes are co-owners of the business. This means that all participants will share, on an equal footing, in the PTO’s collective success – a recipe that is a mainstay of the Silicon Valley investment model. Click here for Press Release.
What is The Collins Cup?
The Collins Cup is a unique broadcast-friendly triathlon race, modelled after golf’s Ryder Cup, which brings together the world’s greatest triathletes in a team competition to do battle to see who dominates the sport. The format of USA vs. Europe vs. The Internationals will add a whole new level of competition and pure excitement to triathlon.
Where will the inaugural Collins Cup be held?
The PTO, in conjunction with CHALLENGEFAMILY, will host the inaugural Collins Cup at the extraordinary x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Western Slovakia from 29-30th May 2020. It is a spectacular venue for the PTO’s inaugural event and the weekend promises to be a fantastic triathlon celebration. Click here for Press Release.
How is the Prize Money distributed?
The $2,000,000 prize purse will be distributed to the 36 athletes who participate in The Collins Cup. The distribution is based on the relative order in the PTO World Rankings of the 18 male and 18 female athletes who contest the Collins Cup. It ranges from $125,000 each for the top ranked man and woman to $20,000 each for the 18th ranked man and woman. Click here for prize money.
If athletes are guaranteed these large payments regardless of their performance, how are you sure they will give it their best?
We will be polite here (OK, maybe not). The suggestion that our professionals will not give it their best is pretty offensive and disrespectful. They are PROFESSIONAL TRIATHLETES, when the gun goes off, they can’t stop themselves from competing their hardest. This is also THEIR EVENT; they own and operate it, so they will support it with their fullest efforts. Finally, we note that professional golfers get paid exactly zero to play in The Ryder Cup, and they practically kill each other on the course to win.
What is the PTO World Rankings™ system and how does it work?
The PTO World Rankings™ System is an objective system to identify the finest triathletes in the world who are best qualified to represent their team in The Collins Cup. Click here for PTO World Rankings™ protocol.
When will the cut-off date for qualifying for The Collins Cup be?
4th May 2020 will be the date on which the final PTO World Rankings are tallied to determine the athletes who automatically qualify for The Collins Cup teams.
When and how will the "Captain's Picks" be decided?
On 4th May 2020, the Captain’s Picks will be decided by the non-athlete members of the PTO Board with the advice of the Teams’ Captains.
Who among the Top Pros have already agreed to race The Collins Cup?
ALL OF THEM. They will be battling for a place on their respective teams, and the competition will be fierce.
Will The Collins Cup replace The Championship for the Pros?
The Championship race will still take place the day after The Collins Cup on 31st May 2020 with professionals who have not otherwise raced in The Collins Cup.
Are the captains as announced in 2017 still on board?
Yes – all the Team Captains have been supportive from the beginning and have been part of our journey. They are still on board with the exception of Dave Scott who unfortunately had a prior long-standing commitment and will not be able to attend. Mark Allen has been named male captain of Team USA. The Team Captains for The Collins Cup 2020 are as follows:
Team Captains for The Collins Cup 2020
What is the Athleta Emeritus Honouree?
Each year the PTO has determined that The Collins Cup race will honour an individual who has distinguished themselves in the sport of triathlon by recognising them as the Athleta Emeritus Honouree. For the inaugural Collins Cup, it has been decided that there would be no better person upon whom to bestow this honour than Dave Scott. You can find out more about Dave’s immense achievements by clicking on the Athleta Emeritus Honouree.
How does The Collins Cup help the sport grow?
By adopting a proven format like the Ryder Cup with its nationalistic intensity, and having a points system that creates drama throughout the race, The Collins Cup is designed to be a compelling live TV event that appeals not only to the fans of endurance sports, but also to the general sports enthusiast. The result of this exposure to a larger audience is that more people will come to see and appreciate the challenge and fun of our sport and begin to dabble in triathlon. Then they enter local events, join associations, move to larger events, buy kit, etc. and become members of the community, which benefits everyone!
Is The Collins Cup a key focus for the PTO?
It will be a MAJOR focus for the PTO to ensure The Collins Cup is a massive celebration where the world of triathlon comes together for a weekend in a festival type environment, with healthy banter about which region is the best in the world and a competition to decide it!
What is next?
The PTO is focused on making The Collins Cup a huge success – enjoyable to all who participate and a springboard to help the sport grow and assume its place alongside other major sports. For the PTO it is just the beginning as we embark on an exciting journey. Our sport has been blessed with so much history and so many fantastic people. It has grown from humble origins 40 years ago into the exciting sport it is today. This type of growth is not without some growing pains, but we are all part of a community that is greater than ourselves and if we are all patient with each other we can achieve great things. As our motto states: Dum Spiro, Spero (Whilst I Breathe, I Hope.) We are still breathing and hoping!
What’s up with spelling Organisation with an “s” instead of “z”, it looks weird?
Now you have hit on the most heated debate about the PTO’s name. In the English-speaking world outside the United States—places like Great Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand—organisation is spelled with an “s”. As a truly international group, it was decided to use the spelling with an “s”. However, it was agreed if the USA wins the first Collins Cup, we will use the “z” spelling.
No doubt there will be many more questions as we roll out The Collins Cup and we will be providing as much information as we can when it becomes available.
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